The Database and the Big Deal

Last Updated Mar 3, 2008 6:36 PM EST

"If you want a good story, call Bob and Beth of Travelworld in Brisbane," they all said. I was telephoning a variety of cruise line sales managers to learn more about the cruise end of the travel industry for a presentation. Wanting to add a good story to my keynote, my closing question was "Do you know anyone with a good marketing story to tell?"

So I called Bob.

"Debbie, we established our travel agency 15 years ago. Our location had no foot traffic, so we knew a customer database would be very important for us. We've been meticulous in our data collection," Bob told me.

"When our cruise wholesaler gave us two days' private notice before the public launch about a new one-off cruise around Australia they had put together, we knew we had to move immediately." So they:

  1. Selected everyone from their database that had been on a three- to four-week cruise or on that specific ship.
  2. Emailed them suggesting they act urgently. After all, they had an entire cruise ship from which to pick a berth.
  3. Added a special offer: half-price travel insurance.
The result? In two days, 60 passages sold. That was over one million dollars in revenue from that email.

"Bob," I asked. "Could any other agency have done this?"

"My guess, less than a handful in the whole country," was his reply.

I know what you're thinking. "Nice story, Debbie. But what's this got to do with me?"

Business is difficult today and good staff is hard to come by --- whatever business you're in, it's important to have a good customer and prospect database. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How detailed is your company customer database?
  • How accurately can your company target (relevance to them --- not you)?
  • How fast can your company move when customer service or sales opportunities arise?
  • How often does your company use your database to add value to service and bring in $$$?
  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (, the Australian online community for solo business owners.